Look and shop locally for sales tax holiday

Published 8:04 pm Friday, August 5, 2011

The Alabama sales tax holiday is back this weekend across Alabama.

Originally designed to stretch the pocketbook of back-to-school shoppers, it triggers shopping sprees of impressive proportions, particularly when coupled with individual store sales.

During the three-day sales tax holiday – in effect from 12:01 a.m. yesterday to midnight, Sunday, Aug. 7 – shoppers across the state are exempt from paying the 4 percent sales tax on certain school and office-related items.

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They are:

Clothing priced at $100 or less.

School supplies priced at $50 or less.

Books under $30.

Computers and related equipment at $750 or less.

More than 230 cities and counties in Alabama have opted to suspend their local sales tax as well, including the cities of Demopolis and Linden, in addition to Marengo County.

When a municipality suspends taxes, shoppers can save as much as 10 percent. Savings can really begin to add up.

It’s not beyond possible that if you needed a computer, some supplies and school clothes that you could easily save $100 or more.

Even though sales taxes were suspended on some items, the state of Alabama saw an overall spike in tax revenue generated during previous tax-free weekends. Sales tax receipts increased 10.4 percent in 2006 compared with the same weekend in 2005; in 2007, it jumped an additional 4.6 percent, according to the Alabama Retail Association.

Alabama is one of 17 states with a sales tax holiday. Mississippi just started one recently.

State and local business leaders are looking to this weekend to be a boost to retail economies that have recently experienced some hard times. Retailers and experts are expecting a slight increase in shopping growth this month, the result of a potential boost from the upcoming sales tax holiday.

This is the sixth annual tax-free weekend and is held each fall as students and parents prepare to return to the classroom for the new school terms.

Nancy King Dennis, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Retail Association, said while retailers nationally are expecting “flat sales” for the month of August, Alabama is anticipating a 2 percent to 3 percent increase over the same month last year.

I would encourage you to look locally this weekend in your pursuit of savings.

Florida, Mississippi and Georgia shoppers could all save by taking a day trip to participate in Alabama’s sales tax holiday

There’s no need to give what you would have saved away in a trip out of town when most, if not all, of your back to school needs can be addressed right here at home.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.